2020 - Building Audience Trust and Sustainable Funding Models for Journalism

Course Directors: 

  • Eva Bognar, Center for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, CEU
  • Marius Dragomir, Center for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, CEU 

Course Coordinator: 

  • Mihaela Groza, Center for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, CEU

course date: 29 June - 3 July, 2020

Journalism is facing two, interrelated crises: a deep crisis of public trust, most visible in the form of the proliferation of misinformation; and the financial crisis that has clobbered news media over the course of the past decade. The two are deeply connected: subscriptions or various forms of memberships seem to be the only business model that works in this new era of journalism, and there is a close link between people’s decision to pay for news and the level of trust they have in the news product they buy. Thus, effectively engaging with audiences is key in keeping news media and journalism initiatives afloat. And vice versa, funding models that build on the audience arguably lead to increased level of audience trust.

The aim of this course is to provide participants with in-depth understanding of the most effective methods of audience engagement in journalism and to equip participants with hands-on experience to develop strategies aimed at building sustainable business models. The course will have a strong practical focus on skills, strategies and tactics used to attract audiences to quality journalism, and to adopt successful fundraising models in the digital age. The course is fit primarily for media practitioners (journalists, social media and marketing experts as well as newsroom managers); activists and advocates who work with media or engage directly with audiences; donor organizations planning to fund media and journalism; media researchers who study trust and business models; and policy experts who work on media literacy projects.

Watch the video summarizing the 2019 summer school:

Course structure and objectives

The objectives of the course are to:

  1. Provide advanced training and practical skill-building to enable participants to engage effectively with audiences;
  2. Equip participants with substantive knowledge and strategic skills to address the funding problem in journalism;
  3. Provide a forum for knowledge, experience and skill-sharing of tactics, techniques and case studies of working and engaging with audiences and of implementing various funding models;
  4. Gain hands-on experience to develop strategies aimed at building loyal audiences and sustainable business models;
  5. Develop the network of researchers and practitioners engaged in studying and responding to the adverse effects of the two crises in journalism.

Sessions will feature a mix of lectures, group discussions, and hands-on training sessions. The teaching style will be interactive and participatory. The practice-oriented, skill-building sessions will predominate.

In order to maximize the output and opportunities for participants, the course will have a maximum of 20 students.

Application deadline: 14 February, 2020

Tuition Fee payable until March 30, or, in case of acceptances after March 30, within 5 calendar days after confirmation:

  • Package 1: (including tuition fee, daily lunch and 2 coffee breaks per day, welcome drinks, closing dinner and 6 nights at the CEU dormitory): 1230 EUR (incl. VAT)
  • Package 2: (including tuition fee, daily lunch and 2 coffee breaks per day, welcome drinks, closing dinner and 6 nights at 3-star hotel): 1500 EUR (Incl. VAT)
  • Package 3: (including tuition fee, daily lunch and 2 coffee breaks per day, welcome drinks, closing dinner and 6 nights at 4-star hotel): 1900 EUR (Incl. VAT)

This summer course is financed through tuition fees and will not be able to offer any scholarships or tuition waivers. (See details here)

For more information about the course and the application process, please click here.

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